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I don't mind being right...   
25 June 2002 Volume 4 - Issue 19   

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But this is ridiculous!

Admittedly Williams seem to have their setup wrong. It my have been great for qualifying but during the race they were struggling to get any reasonable life out of their tyres. This could have been because they were carrying too much wing or just the wrong compound.

Being virtually a new track few teams would have known what to expect on race day but I was very surprised to see how abrasive it was on tyres. I was just as surprised that the relatively small addition of two/three corners had such a dramatic impact on average speed.

Anyway, Ferrari was so far ahead that I suspect that they could have lapped every other team if they did not slow down after the second pit stop.

I thought the track would favour Ferrari but I did not expect it to be that dramatic.

It was nice to see that Barrichello was allowed to win. Maybe to make a point before the hearing in Paris? Or is that too cynical?

Not that Michael Schumacher did not try. That spin before the first pit stop was a rare error by Michael and definitely lost him the race. As it turned out, unless he could sneak a few very fast laps after Barrichello peeled off into the pits, he would not have managed to overtake Rubens in the pits. Rubens had the shorter of the two stops.

To harp back on old issues: the spin by Michael was caused by the turbulence behind Barrichello�s car. Michael got too close in a fast curve and both back wheels suddenly lost traction � not a situation that traction control can manage.

Barrichello did not put a foot wrong. He beat Michael fairly and deserved the win.

I hesitate to comment about Ralf Schumacher�s race on two scores: I do not know to what extent tyre wear affected his race and if I say anything I will get several �You are down on Ralf � give him a chance� e-mails. Face it � it was not inspiring.

Montoya got bagged for being reckless, like always. This time I do not believe that he deserved it. Coulthard left him with nowhere to go.

Sure Montoya braked late on unreliable tyres. Well? He was racing and Coulthard was overtaking for position. Of course he was going to defend. Of course that will involve braking at the very last possible point. Of course he will be on the limit of adhesion.

I am sure that David knew that Montoya�s tyres were on their last legs. After all he spent most of the race up to then staring at the back of Montoya�s car. So why leave him no space on the apex of that corner? I have just replayed that again and to me it looks as if Montoya was forced into the curb and that was what initiated the spin that put both out of action.

David pushed hard and took a chance. It did not work out. It was just a racing incident and if anything Montoya was the innocent party.

Not that I am going soft. I still think that Montoya and Villeneuve are hard on their cars and more likely to break something.

I do not want to take anything away from McLaren but the only reason that they finished on the podium was because Williams did not shape. They were light-years behind Ferrari at the end of the race and if the two Ferrari drivers were not instructed to slow well before the end they could have lapped Raikkonen.

Discounting Ralf Schumacher (something that I frequently do, but this time it is because I believe that his tyres were letting him down) Button was 20 seconds behind Raikkonen and well ahead of Massa in the first Sauber (and also the first car other than the Ferraris on Bridgestone tyres). It is difficult to assess how much of the fourth place is due to the Renault�s chassis advantage and the extent of the improvement in the Renault stable. They were after all on Michelins too. We�ll have to see how they go at Silverstone.

Sauber on the other hand, only did well because of their tyres. I do not expect them to be able to repeat this performance again.

Apart from noticing that attrition is moderating (and that could be because Nurburgring is kind to cars) there is very little else to comment on. I am still disappointed in the performance of Toyota, who I expected to be on their way up at this stage of the season, Arrows and Jordan and am completely resigned to seeing Jaguar throw away a huge budget on a pathetic performance like always.

BAR did a little better and Villeneuve, despite his anger with the way his salary was broadcast to the world, did not break his car.

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